I just finished reading about the law in New Hampshire that allows parents a line-item veto of any lesson that they say isn’t fit for their child. Here is a link to the debate (NH Debate). How could a teacher function under such a law? I have to send home notification if we are about to watch part of an R-rated movie. Alternative lessons are then provided for any student who opts out. I can’t imagine having a bank of alternative to each and every lesson. And what if the parent opts out of the alternative as well. And what do you do before each lesson, do you have to post what each lesson covers before you teach it. In the high school social studies classroom the discussion can lead into all sorts of directions. Would each topic have to okay’d by parents before you went there in the classroom? 

It is hard enough to teach students that seem to be reading less and less every year as they play their video games, watch movies, and live in a Facebook world. Now parents don’t want their children exposed to anything that they haven’t approved first. How can someone discern what is right or wrong without being exposed to other’s viewpoints? I am a conservative christian but I would never want to just close my eyes to the world around me. I don’t have to agree with it any more than people that hear my opinion have to agree with me. I enjoy the debate that ensues when I encounter someone with another point of view. 

Our country is great because of our ability to express our divergent viewpoints. Do we really want to raise our children to think everyone must agree with them– or else? I’ve never been one to shy away from controversial topics in my classroom. I will state my  opinion when asked but I always preface it with a statement that it is only an opinion (mine). I believe it’s wrong to teach students our beliefs but they need to hear the different theories/beliefs/opinions of others. My students are taught what bias is and they are able to state their own biases without repercussion as long as it isn’t bigoted. 

So let’s continue to teach our students about all that is around them. That’s the job of teachers. Parents, please let teachers do their jobs.